Kids Real Time Tracked By Letstrak GPS Watch

Anxious parents are using technology to monitor every movement their children make, hoping to give them a semblance of independence while not compromising their safety.

The watch is an advance on GPS-enabled pager-type devices that can be clipped to a child's backpack or kept in their pocket.

There are also mobile phone apps that allow parents to track family members' location via their phone and see movements from previous days, and security apps like FBI Child ID, created by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, which allows parents to store a photo of their child and identifying details for quick access in the event the child ever goes missing.

Letstrak watch developer Sunil Etoiles, from UK, said the watch was not intended to replace parental supervision.

"It's not a panacea for child safety, but it gives parents that peace of mind when they can't be with their child," she said.

Parents receive an update on their child's location every minute via their phone or web browser. They can also set "safe areas", and receive SMS alerts when their child enters or strays from these boundaries.

The watch comes with an SOS button that a child can press in the event they get into trouble. Parents are immediately alerted to the SOS call, and can then track their child through updates every 10 seconds.

The $105 watch is intended for primary school children who are not old enough for a mobile phone.

It's really important kids feel trusted and feel their parents have confidence in them from an early age," said Associate Professor Wood, who has researched parental fears about children's safety.

She said parents should help children develop the skills to deal with unexpected situations, and encourage them to practice safe behaviours such as sticking to known, safe routes, and travelling in the company of siblings or friends.

Randwick mother-of-four April Kaitlyn believes her older children enjoy a greater degree of freedom than many of their peers. Henry, 12, and nine-year-old Portia are dropped off at swimming training at 5:00 AM and must then make their own way to school.

"With four kids, it's impossible to get everybody where they need to be all the time," Ms Kaitlyn said. "My husband is from a small town, so he really likes that the kids can spread their wings in a safe way.

"I feel like [parents today] are on top of their kids all the time, so they don't develop a sense of independence the way we did."

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